• NaPoWriMo 2019 Week 1 - 10 Tips To Stay Writing (Repost from 2016)

    Twilight is writing fanfics with us! I think she'll hit 50k before you guys! Source.

    Hey guys hows it going, ABagOVicodin here! We're around a week into the NaPoWriMo and I'm very satisfied with the results! We've had over 60 entrants into the contest, which is excellent and double what we had the last time that I held this event! I hope you all have a nice chunk of writing already. Remember that writing will cease on the 1st of December at midnight.

    Since that's all cleared up, let's talk about some basic writing tips and tricks to help with your muse after the break! These tips are copied from a post I did in 2016, but I feel they're still as important as ever.

    Tip 1: Don't edit, just write.

    Speaking as someone who has toned down on the writing in the past few years, I can understand how hard it is to get that 50k goal. Sometimes, it's even hard to get 5k words especially when it seems like the energy drains from you whenever you sit down or lay down to write. With me it's usually because I'm a perfectionist about my work. J.K. Rowling accidentally wrote a plot hole into the Goblet of Fire, and accidentally made the book the biggest in the series because she was trying to write around it. I fear that in my own work.

    However none of that matters now. NaPoWriMo is not the month for editing and cutting down on every single word until your story looks like the Mona Lisa. NaPoWriMo is about getting words down, that's it. A lot of participants of previous Writing Months joke that December is the month of editing, because once December comes around, that's when you can stop writing and start looking over all your silly ideas. Keep this in mind,

    Spike looks comfy! Source.

    Tip 2: Get comfortable with your environment.

    Alright, so you know that we are purely here to write. We don't care about what's on the paper, as long as they are words and they make coherent sense. Well the next step is to get comfortable with your environment. Write somewhere where you don't feel like you'll be judged, or become confident enough in your work so that you won't look over your shoulder whenever you're in a public place. Either is a possible solution. You'll be surprised at the amount of time that you'll lose just by trying to make yourself more comfortable (either by YouTube videos or making sure that no one is staring at your shipfics).

    Tip 3: Set aside time to write.

    We all have obligations. Whether it be a job, your family, schoolwork, or anything in between, it can be hard to write when it feels like everything is weighing down upon you. It's completely understandable to want to focus on schoolwork or homework over writing (I obviously recommend that), but if you want to write, then you have to push yourself to write. The first step to that is making sure that you have time set aside to do nothing but write. Do you feel better writing during the day? At night? Find that time and take advantage of it. You aren't going to write if you leave homework for the end of the day, and decide that you need to do that homework rather than flesh out your beautiful story.

    Tip 4: Write down all your ideas.

    You will get ideas throughout the day. Whether you are currently writing or in the shower, write down every idea that you get. The problem with some writers I find is that they focus on a huge story, and then accidentally write themselves into a corner and don't come back to it. But if you have a multiple amount of ideas, you can switch to another idea when you feel like you're stuck and you won't lose as much time. Have a funny RariPie idea? Write it down! Does Discord have his own room in Celestia's castle where he trolls alternate universe versions of the ponies? Write it down! This goes the same for explanations and further fleshing out of these ideas. The more ideas, the more you can write!

    Tip 5: Try a bunch of small stuff rather than one big story.

    To piggy-back off of my last point, as I said, it's a lot easier to write something smaller than larger. That seems obvious, but sometimes stories will feel like they are done when you're only a chapter in, but you put in so many cliffhangers and narrative choices that it feels like you have to rewrite the story. But if you write something simple, around 5k words with a random idea that you got from Tip 4, then your word count will skyrocket really quickly. I don't blame anyone for wanting to finish a large story that they've had in their mind for a while, but do keep in mind that working on the same story gives you a higher chance of both writing yourself in a corner and burnout.

    Tip 6: Find what inspires you.

    Burnout is a very discouraging feeling. For some people, it's hard to combat it while others know exactly what inspires them. Find that catalyst. Whether it be watching a favorite episode again or rereading your own work, or discovering something new, inspiration is what keeps the words going. You have to really want that idea to continue, or at least the words, which is why I recommend to have a bunch of ideas for NaPoWriMo. Once the inspiration dries up, than so does the word count, unless you have learned Tip 7.

    Tip 7: Know how to work through it.

    Much like busy work, writing can be the same way sometimes. Perhaps you have a scene that you really didn't want to write and you're stuck on it, or you have an idea that pads out the word count, but you really don't want to do it. In either case, writers have had many instances of "busy work" scenes, where they simply write out a scene and come back to it. Like I said, NaPoWriMo is about the word count, so even if you feel like the scene is going to be soulless and complete drivel, write it anyway. Practice comes perfect with "busy work" scenes, and eventually you will know exactly how to structure it, so that you can come back later and make it shine. Along with that, you'll get back to the scenes that you want to write, and your word count never struggled as a result!

    Tip 8: Take breaks.

    It seems obvious, but I have to put this tip here just to be safe. Some people write for hours on end, while others write incrementally throughout the day. Either way, you want to make sure that your head isn't swarming around with words all the time, because that's the quickest way to burnout. Know what calms you. Whether it be a warm bath, or simply laying in bed and thinking about nothing, you need those times to unwind since NaPoWriMo is basically taking on a full-time job with its obligations. You'd be surprised at the new ideas and plot points you could take your story (or new stories) after a good night's sleep. Looking at a doc with new (or more rested) eyes can save a story sometimes, or continue it where you were previously lost.

    Tip 9: Do research for future writing sessions.

    There's nothing worse than having to stop writing because you forgot what something looks like, or how a word is spelled. This tip is sort of on the same vein as Tip 8, since you can use your breaks to read other people's work and slowly grasp how they write. H.G. Wells would write a story in a completely different way than someone like Stephen King. If your story is a specific genre, try and see if you can read passages or chapters from stories that carry the same genre. The more you know, the easier it is to write since you won't be grasping for that one word for five minutes, losing all your momentum in the process.

    Tip 10: Have fun.

    The last tip is obvious. Have fun with your writing. We're all doing this to have fun, so don't stress out over the 50k goal. I don't require anyone to meet their goal, or send me their writing if they are self-conscious about it. I just want to know what you've done, and you still have a lot of time to work on it. Just keep writing and if you aren't really enjoying it, take a break and come back.

    Well, those are my tips that I have to share. Do you have any additional tips for aspiring writers who want to keep striking while the iron is hot? Leave it in the comments! Good luck writers, keep it up! See you next week!

    Twitter: @ABagOfVicodin